That was always the Big Question as I was growing up. Usually is was soft drinks. Or candy. Whoopdie Do, huh? For some, sure. But the real question is, "Does giving something up bring us closer to Jesus during this time?" I can attest that the soda and candy thing didn't do it for me when I was younger.
Last year, I gave up sweets again. I have developed quite a sweet tooth over the years, so this became a bigger deal for me. But the real difference was that every time I saw a cookie or piece of candy (and believe me... I saw a lot) it reminded me of Christ, and the sacrifices he underwent for our redemption and salvation.
What a small price to pay for my soul... to give up Snickers bars or brownies to bring me closer to the heart of my God.
Additionally, I have taken on fasting. True fasting. Water only from sunrise to sunset. Each pang of hunger again reminds me of Christ's suffering. I pray more. I reflect more. I don't pass the time by planning my next meal. I embrace each moment when I can think about God and His son.
I heartily urge fasting for all men. At least once a month. E5 Men (www.E5men.org) shows how fasting - especially for one's spouse - can bring amazing, and life-altering, changes to your spiritual life and your family.
Sacrifice. It's an easy word to talk about. We use it to refer to many things. Athletes sacrifice to be the best. Parents sacrifice for their children. The military sacrifice for our freedom.
But we all know that Christ's was the ultimate sacrifice. So let's embrace ours a little more gladly, and turn the focus from ourselves to the one whose sacrifice made ours even possible.
A blessed Lenten season to you all.